Saturday, August 31, 2013

A Conservative Roosevelt

Theodore Roosevelt was one of the most noteworthy presidents of the United States. He's one of the four outstanding chief executives carved into Mount Rushmore.

"Teddy" Roosevelt is considered by many scholars and historians to be our first modern president. He was a supporter of desegregation and women's suffrage. He also deserves a special place in heaven for preserving vast areas of public land by signing the Antiquities Act in 1906. This grew into our national parks system. He was also a fan of wildlife preserves. You could call him the first "green" president. He was a leading anti-war, pro-diplomacy progressive of his time.

Yet I wonder how some of his more notable quotes would be received today. By 21st century standards, Teddy Roosevelt sounds downright conservative--perhaps even like a "neocon." 

Below are five statements made by our illustrious 26th president. Read them and then ask yourself what the MSNBC crowd would do with these nuggets of wisdom:
  • "Every immigrant who comes here should be required within five years to learn English or leave the country."

  • "A thorough knowledge of the Bible is worth more than a college education."

  • "A vote is like a rifle; its usefulness depends upon the character of the user."

  • "To announce that there must be no criticism of the president... is morally treasonable to the American public."

  • "No man is above the law and no man is below it: nor do we ask any man's permission when we ask him to obey it."

Teddy sounds like quite a conservative Roosevelt. Who knew?